OFW remittances breach $2-B mark in January
Cash sent home through banks by Filipinos living and working abroad in January rose 8.6 percent to $2.17 billion, the first time that cash remittances exceeded the $2-billion mark at the start of the year.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas data released yesterday showed that the amount of cash remittances last January exceeded the $1.997 billion recorded during the same month last year.
January cash remittances were nonetheless lower than the record high of $2.56 billion in December last year.
As such, remittances stayed above the $2-billion level for the 12th straight month.
In January, remittances of land-based workers amounted to $1.8 billion, 13.5-percent higher compared to the level posted in the same month a year ago, BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said in a statement.
However, sea-based workers’ remittances declined by 8.3 percent year-on-year due to the stiffer competition in the supply of seafarers, according to Tetangco.
He said that almost four-fifths of the cash remittances last January came from Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Remittances from the US grew by 9.2 percent, contributing 3 percentage points to the 8.6-percent overall growth. Those from Singapore, Qatar and Japan rose by 19.7 percent, 57.8 percent and 16 percent, respectively, with a combined 3.8-percentage points contribution to total growth in cash remittances, Tetangco said.
In 2016, cash remittances totaled a record $26.9 billion, up 5 percent from $25.61 billion in 2015.
For 2017, the BSP had projected a 4-percent growth in remittances.
Remittances are the biggest source of foreign exchange income for the Philippines, helping insulate the domestic economy from external shocks by ensuring the steady supply of dollars in the system. These cash transfers are also a major driver of domestic consumption, which contributes to robust economic growth.
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